What Is High Lobe Piercing And How Painful Is It?

Set the bar high and elevate your look and style with this elegant piercing.

Written by , MA Sangita Goel MA linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Aparna Harry MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years

The lobes are one of the most common areas to get pierced. Many get standard lower lobe piercings on both ears when they are kids. These can be combined with a high lobe piercing to create a fashion-forward look. Piercings in the upper lobe area do not hurt much and heal quickly. Therefore, these are ideal for people who want to go beyond the traditional and create a stacked look, without committing to cartilage piercings. However, it is always good to be well-prepared before you book an appointment at a piercing studio. Dive into this article and get a thorough understanding of what to expect with high lobe piercings. Read on!

protip_icon Piercing Guide: High Lobe Piercing
  • Placement: Upper earlobes, before ear cartilage starts
  • Best Jewelry: Studs, hoops, and huggies
  • Cost: $30 to $50
  • Pain Level: Low
  • Healing Time: 2 to 4 months

What Is A High Lobe Piercing?

High lobe piercing, also called upper lobe piercing, is done on the upper part of the lobe that merges with the lower helix. The area provides enough space to create magic with two, three, or four piercings. You can either get the piercings side-by-side or on top of each other. No matter the orientation, the bold and edgy look enhances your appearance. If you want to experiment with your style, this ear piercing is a cool option. The piercing passes through fatty tissues in the lobe but its placement gives you a faux cartilage piercing look.

If you are curious about the exact process then scroll down to the next section.

How Is High Lobe Piercing Done?

A woman getting a high lobe piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Before getting started with the procedure, the piercer will share all the information with you regarding the process, aftercare, and possible complications you may encounter. You must fill out a consent form and show the appropriate ID. After the formalities are done, you will head to the piercing chair. Here is a step-by-step guide for that:

  • The piercer will clean the area and sterilize the equipment. You can ask for numbing cream or medicine if you have a low pain threshold.
  • Then, they will insert a hollow curved needle into the upper lobe and exit it from the back. You can choose the size of the piercing gauge depending on the size of the hole you want.
  • They will insert a piece of jewelry you selected either separately or use a threaded needle to put the jewelry in place while taking the needle out from the other side.

Knowing about the process and being prepared for the pain are two different things. But the benefit of the high lobe piercing is that it does not hurt much. The next section discusses the pain level of the piercing.

How Painful Is A High Lobe Piercing?

Upper lobe ear piercing is comparatively less painful than other body piercings as it has fewer nerve endings. The pain level is 2-3 on the pain scale of 1-10. However, the pain experience remains subjective; some may find the piercing more painful than others. During the piercing process, you may feel a sharp sting when the needle passes through the lobe, which turns into a dull throbbing that lasts for a few days.

Maine Lyn, a blogger, shared her upper lobe piercing experience. She already had 10 piercings in her ear before she got this one. She wrote, “The fastest piercing I’ve ever gotten but it hurt a fair bit more than my cartilage piercings (i).”

The pain in the aftermath of the piercing will subside with time. Next, we discuss how long it takes for the piercing to heal.

High Lobe Piercing Healing Time

In general, upper lobe piercing healing time ranges between 2-4 months. However, the healing duration can vary for different individuals. Multiple factors, like the body’s response rate, wound healing mechanism, lifestyle, and aftercare practices, affect the healing rate of a piercing.

A few days after the piercing, the ear will swell intensely and become extremely tender. For a smooth healing journey, ask your piercer to fix you with a long earring as your initial jewelry to accommodate swelling.

A quick and healthy recovery is only possible with diligent aftercare. Keep scrolling to learn some tips that you must follow to avoid any complications.

High Lobe Piercing Aftercare

woman doing aftercare for high lobe piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Your fresh piercing needs to be taken care of religiously. A new piercing has a high risk of getting infected and only proper aftercare can alleviate the complications. Let us learn about high lobe piercing aftercare measures:

  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water before touching the piercing to prevent infection (1).
  • Clean your ears in sterile saline solution twice for 10-15 minutes to alleviate swelling and prevent bacterial growth (2).
  • Avoid using products like perfume and lotion around the piercing site as the harsh chemicals might irritate the piercing (2).
  • Wear loose and clean clothes to avoid accidental snagging.
  • Avoid swimming pools or hot tubs until the piercing heals as the chlorine may delay the healing process (2).
  • Do not sleep on the side of the piercing as it may cause irritation.

Maine noticed her piercings got swollen after four months because she slept on her side for a few days. She mentioned, “My earlobe gets super swollen for a few days once in a while because I sometimes sleep on my side unintentionally and put too much pressure on it. I should have gotten pierced with a longer post… there isn’t enough room for swelling to occur.

It’s mostly just a moderate level of discomfort. The worst of it was when the whole jewelry piece (top + post) slipped straight out of my ear when I accidentally pulled too hard on the end.”

At times, even with proper aftercare, you may encounter certain problems with your piercing. Let us now learn about some complications that may occur.

Risks Of High Lobe Piercings

Like any other type of body piercing, this piercing also carries some risks with it. Below we have discussed the most common types of risks of high lobe piercing:

  • Infection: Lack of care or touching the piercing frequently with dirty hands infects the piercing. It becomes red and swollen filled with pus or yellow-green discharge (3).
  • Rejection: Your body may view the piercing as a foreign object and start pushing it out. Your ears will become red, hot, painful to touch, and swollen. While it may look like an infection, you will not notice any discharge (4).
  • Keloid: When you have left the earring out of the piercing for long, it may start to close up. This may leave behind an ugly thick, raised scar or keloid that might be painful (4).
  • Embedding: During the healing period, the pierced ear swells and hence it needs a longer earring that will allow enough space for it. But if you get small earrings, your piercings may get embedded in your ears (5).
  • Bloodborne Infection: Using unsterilized equipment containing traces of infected blood may cause blood infections, such as hepatitis, HIV, and tetanus (6).
  • Traumatic Tearing: Accidental snagging, tugging, and pulling may cause the earring to tear the skin. This may lead to skin trauma and also cause infection.
  • Abscess: If the infection is left untreated, small pockets of fluid may form around the piercing site.
  • Allergic Reaction: High lobe piercing jewelry material may cause allergies. Many jewelry metals contain nickel which may irritate the skin (5).

Many of the risks could be avoided with appropriate aftercare and the correct initial jewelry. Keep reading to learn more about which type of jewelry to use and how to pick one perfect for you.

High Lobe Piercing Jewelry

Ear piercing jewelry creates a striking look and draws attention. At the same time, if not selected carefully, it can lead to an unavoidable catastrophe. To avoid this, read which jewelry to choose, how to select one, and remove them without any complication:

Types Of Jewelry Used

Types of jewelry used for high lobe piercing
Image: Shutterstock

High lobe earrings are designed keeping in mind the position of the piercing. Here are a few jewelry ideas:

  • Studs: They offer you a classic look and their designs make it an ideal initial jewelry as the flat disc at the back does not snag or pull much.
  • Climber Earrings: The earrings go in the upper lobe and climb up or down to create depth. They are embellished with gemstones and have abstract designs.
  • Drop Earrings: The earrings are designed in the shape of drops. They effortlessly glam up your appearance and look elegant and striking.
  • Hoops: They are large ring earrings that create a statement-making look. You can adorn them for evening parties or wear them regularly for a fun look.
  • Huggies: They are small hoops that hug your ear lobes snugly but not tightly. They give you a minimal and sophisticated look.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Make your ear piercings more meaningful by wearing studs with certain gemstones or birthstones.

Best care for your piercing is possible when you get not only the correct type of ear piercing jewelry but also the perfect size and material. Keep reading to know more.

Tips To Choose The Right Material And Size

Apart from knowing which jewelry style to select, you also need to have an idea about the jewelry sizing and material. Below we discuss some tips that will help you decide:


Each ear has a different anatomy and thus needs to customize the size of the earring accordingly. Use a small tape measure to identify the diameter of the upper lobe. Usually, it ranges between 6-8 mm and a needle of 1-1.5 mm is used to pierce the lobes. The size of the ear decreases as you go higher the curve of the ear. Remember to pick a bigger size for the initial earrings to accommodate swelling.


For the initial jewelry, use hypoallergenic and sterile materials such as 14k gold, titanium, stainless steel, rhodium, platinum, and white gold (7). These materials are durable and do not put much pressure on the fresh piercing. Moreover, wearing quality piercing jewelry will also prevent allergic reactions.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Avoid sterling silver jewelry which can transfer toxins to the human body due to oxidation and may cause blood poisoning (8).

Apart from the materials and sizes, knowing how to change the jewelry is also crucial. Keep scrolling to know more.

When And How To Change The Jewelry

Wait at least six weeks before changing your jewelry. Otherwise, it will delay the healing process and may also infect the piercing. While changing your jewelry for the first time, it is generally recommended to visit an experienced piercer. They will carefully take out the earrings with piercing tools and safely insert the new jewelry. They can also guide you to change your jewelry the next time on your own.

When changing your jewelry for the first time, wash your hands. Then, unscrew the earring and pull out the earring bar. Put the other jewelry inside a similar manner and screw it back on.

Now that you know what to expect from the high lobe piercing, it is time to discuss the cost of the piercing. It will help you decide according to your budget. Keep reading to know more.

How Much Do High Lobe Piercings Cost?

The procedure of the upper lobe piercing costs around $30-$50. The pricing differs across the regions and piercing studios. The reputation of a professional piercer and their experience also play an important role in the final cost of piercing. If you get double or triple piercings, these prices double or triple accordingly. Some studios offer combo offers for such cases, be sure to discuss it with your piercer if you plan to get more than one piercing. Additionally, jewelry charges are separate. They can range anywhere from $30 to $300 depending on the metal you choose.

High Lobe Piercing Vs. Lobe Piercing Vs. Transverse Lobe Piercing

High Lobe Piercing Vs Lobe Piercing Vs Transverse Lobe Piercing
Image: StyleCraze Design Team

Lobe piercing is done in the middle of the lobe while you get a high lobe piercing on the upper part of the lobe before the ear cartilage starts. Though the upper lobe has many jewelry options available, lobe piercings still offer greater variety. You can wear long and heavy earrings on your lobe but you need to limit the size of the high lobe piercing jewelry. Even the healing time of lobe piercing is less (6 weeks) compared to upper lobe piercing (8-12 weeks).

Transverse lobe piercing, on the other hand, enters from the side of the lobe and exits at the side, unlike the upper lobe piercings. The transverse limits the jewelry type; only straight and circular or curved barbells can be worn here. It even takes 10 months to heal.

A high lobe piercing is done on the upper part of the lobe and allows space to create a curated look, which adds uniqueness to your look. It does not hurt much during the piercing process but like other piercings, you may notice swelling in the pierced area, which may cause discomfort a few days later. During the healing journey, the swelling subsides after a week or so but the piercing takes around 2-4 months to heal. With proper aftercare, the healing process can speed up and you can avoid any complications. But at times the piercing may get infected despite all precautions. In such a case, you should seek medical attention and continue to care for the piercing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I stretch a high lobe piercing like other cartilage piercings?

You can stretch a high lobe piercing like any other cartilage piercing but you need to wait for at least after your piercing heals to go for the lobe stretching process.

Can I change my jewelry during the healing process?

You should wait for the piercing to completely heal or at least six weeks before thinking about changing the jewelry. However, if you need to change your piercing before this period, it is advisable to visit your piercer and let them do it, instead of doing it yourself.

Can I participate in sports or physical activities with a healing high lobe piercing?

Participating in sports or any physical activity when the piercing is healing is a risky step. Ask your sports coach or mentor for proper guidance and rules regarding this as many sports prohibit you from wearing any jewelry during the event.

Can I wear regular earrings in a high lobe piercing?

Yes, you can wear regular studs, hoops, danglers, and huggies in your upper lobe as well.

Key Takeaways

  • High lobe piercing passes through fatty tissue and thus hurts less compared to cartilage piercings.
  • Clean the piercing with saline solution and wash your hands thoroughly before touching it.
  • Opt for hypoallergenic jewelry material, like titanium, rhodium, and 14k gold, to avoid allergic reactions.

High lobe ear piercing also gives way to the option of ear stacking. Watch this video to learn how to style your ears and do the ear stacking the right way so that each piece of jewelry stands out prettily.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  2. Suggested Aftercare Guidelines For Body Piercings
  3. Body Piercing
  4. Body Piercing Infections
  5. Ear-piercing complications in children and adolescents
  6. Transmission of Hepatitis B and C Virus Infection Through Body Piercing
  8. Exposure-Related Health Effects of Silver and Silver Compounds: A Review
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Sangita Goel

Sangita GoelBeauty & Lifestyle Writer

Sangita is a content writer with a passion for exploring diverse genres. She has written 100+ blogs on an array of topics, including relationships, travel, beauty, and fashion. Armed with a master’s degree in history from Indira Gandhi National Open University, she has leveraged her curiosity to write captivating, engaging, and informative articles. In her free time, Sangita indulges in...read full bio

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